To Hel and Back :: Edit your Template To Hel and Back: November 2005

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Getting back on the horse

Yesterday, sitting in the subdued environment of the Qantas lounge, with the Irishman chatting away on my behalf, and stroking my hair in comfort while I cried, I realised that I need to exhale a little and let some words come out with the air.

I'm trying, and the words aren't coming out easily or poetically. I'm not feeling sorry for myself or thinking that life is bleak, I've just run out of steam. I didn't think there is anything left in me, but there is still hope, and with hope, there's chance for everything.

I'm in Oxford today, which is bitingly cold; I had to wear a shirt on my head like a scarf while waiting for Martin to collect me from Thornhill.

On a more chatty note, I enjoyed flying business class immensely. I love being pampered, being called by my name, and having hot chocolate and heavenly biscuits, champagne and fillet steak to order. Perhaps a bit of TLC or at least attentive customer service, was what I needed!

Tomorrow, I get on the horse to East London, to commence my monopoly board stay around the capital.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

I've just learned that (another) friend has died.

I will be off line.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

F*&K all that positive energy

Again, I have just lost someone I love and I hate the world for every bit of pain that has been this year.
Bring on the murky grey and gin of London again. There is no good in this f&cked up world, I was mis-guided to ever see it.

no posts to follow.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Better glasses?

I'm really enjoying life lately. Which isn't to say that I haven't been enjoying it before but I am getting a heightened sense of enjoyment.

Things seem to be more beautiful, and I have been lucky to have seen a lot of beautiful things things this year.

I'm able to find a lot more peace and resolution with most issues, strength to deal with those issues whose resolution is beyond me (and wisdom to know the difference between the two, as the saying goes.)

I am surrounded by people whose depth, beauty and friendship is amazing, but while I am away from those people, I still feel their presence rather than feeling removed from them (though goodbyes are still a but blubbery of course).

I only have two small concerns, okay maybe three.
One: Debt
Two: What career paths to take next year
Three: Closure with the man from Espoo.

It's a bit sad that something personal is still lingering on a year later, but how do you get closure when that situation is taken from you? I look at my parents - more than ten years divorced and still unable to face each other - and think that I will not be like that. But the choice isn't mine, and that's one area where the wisdom won't just let this one be.

Regarding number two, the basic options are developing the social care business, going rallying or going freelance as a writer... I think I will just reassess at the end of the year.

Number three, well I have just accepted that will be on my list to my grave; a headstone that will say IOU rather than RIP so I don't really worry about this.

Other than those things, I feel supercalifragilistic about everything else. I'm actually concerned that the old cycnic in me has become optimistic. I'm even more disturbed to re-read this sentence and see that I have called myself a cynic and not a realist, as I have branded myself for years.

I'm not exactly sure where the change has come from. Partly from growing up. I think not being "in my twenties" anymore has made me smarten up my attitude. I realise that being young is not just an excuse for things. I also think that the four deaths in four months sharpened my senses. I see every day as beautiful and every day as a gift. Very little of what I do is so grave as to cause me to stress, and even less is regrettable. I also think that emotionally something has happened to me while I've been away, being able to articulate love for a friend has added something extra to the recipe of heightened awareness and better perception.

But it could just be that I have new glasses.


I just got a phone call from Results and an email from Kebab Mafia and my heart is so full and I am a little (swallow) choked up with emotion.

Can there be anything better than having fabulous friends in your life?

Off to dance a happy dance around the house and break my detox rule by eating my mum's chocolate muffins for breakfast because in a few days she won't be here.

Stay tuned for even more emotional waffling as the countdown to departure begins...

...six days.

Boo hiss

Don't you hate how a perfectly lovely start to the day gets so easily ruined when you look at your bank balance?

How do accounts go from a eyebrowing raising three figure positive amount to suddenly £70 overdrawn?

Why do Australian withdrawls take three weeks to go through and then go through all on the same date?

Where did the transfer from Finland to England disappear to? (it's not in the Finnish account, it's not yet in the English account, I guess it's in "space")

What do you mean "the details of your loan is not available"? If it was needing payment I bet the bank would make it available.

How did my credit card get so inflated, and since when did they charge me for over use (probably about the time that I took out the loan and lied about living in the UK as an aupair... yes... )

And why is there minus £2.5o on one card. Can't I just have one with zero on it.

Humpf. I'm going back to bed to forget about it. Of course I could just budget and know how much I do get paid like normal people but where's the fun in that?!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

A walk in the park

Yesterday I went to Perth's most prominent city park - Kings Park. It's a very beautiful place though I feel most residents take it for granted, whisk visitors to the top to see the skyline (now blighted by the Expo centre) and whisk them back down again before they can appreciate just how vast and varied it is.

I spent a bit of time of time in the Lottery funded areas of the garden with fabulous cultivated native plants. I also spent some time sleeping by the pond, in duck poo, awakening to find myself surrounded by the little quackers.

Even though it wasn't good for chaffing or sunburn, it was a really glorious afternoon. I realised how lucky I am to be able to live in many of the world's beautiful places but always have the right to call this clean and beautiful city home if I wish to.

My morning was equally glorious as I spent it with the Chaplain. He's going to be renamed (by me, not by the Lord) because I don't think the name does him justice. I know some of you think I am chasing a man of the cloth a la Benny Hill or have said things like "of course he's nice, he's a bloody Chaplain" and I think even nicknaming him that way puts an emphasis on the role and not the person. So he's now called Results, after his role at rally, not because I am trying to get some!

Anyway, the friendship is ticking along nicely. He is one of those people you meet in life that you instantly connect with (like a girl you take for after lunch cocktails only knowing her for an hour; or a couple who email you instructions on how to find toilet roll in Finland!) It's no secret that if he wasn't happily married with a million kids, I'd whisk him away to er somewhere but he is and that's that. He's also happily married which helps my mild adoration keep in check because I only know one other couple that's happily married and I do know a lot of married people.

What has been an additional bonus to the friendship is that there is a level of intimacy that is added for the "what if" element. For example, you share things that you might have shared if you were partners but not just friends, but because there isn't going to be that eventuality, you offer so much of the personal side of you to compensate for the more traditional intimacy. This has been lovely for me, to remember what it's like to have that kind of honesty. It's certainly put into perspective how or what I felt for my last relationships, which I feel hasn't gained any maturity or depth in the attempted friendships since their failures. I had started to think that this was my doing, but now being able to have frank and open discussions with someone again reminds me that it is possible and that I am not being unreasonable to want such things.

All these musings came to mind as I lay in the duck poo, their gentle quack quacking around me, and the occasional fly trying to land in my nostril. Parks are great for contemplation. Not so good for white clothing, grass stains and icky smears of bird mess.

Pics of the park will eventually be here

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Happy Paddling

I'm walking funny, bow-legged, and it's not from anything romantic. Just a bit of boardshort chaffing from today's sea kayaking which is going to put a stop to me having any men round for a while (and they were all queuing up, really).

Escorted by the most laid back guide ever, ten of us took double canoes around Shag Island (no action despite the name), Seal Island (all but three of them off shagging) and Penguin island (no funny name puns here).

It was a great day, realised I loved kayaking - normally I hate the sea, and I don't like waves. In this, I didn't mind as they broke over me (frequently as we paddled out to the islands into an usual gust) and when we rode waves. I'm definitely going out once I get back to Finland.

Spotted three seals, saw rehabilitated penguins, lotsa pelicans, got sunburnt - a good day had by all.

Sorry, not very prosaic but exhausted from sun, fun and what a friend recently called, my new found religous distractions...

Photos here

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Soliciting geeks

Hard drive hard drive hard drive.

Now that I have the attention of the IT folk out there, my dad has offered to help me with a new laptop.

So I have a back of an envelope scribble from a friend of a friend telling me I need 40gig, no less than 512mb of RAM, and preferably more than 128 mb gfx for all the things I do. And possibly something to keep the Klingons on the starboard bow.

I just want one in a nice shade of grey.

I'm currently using a Fujitsu, I've used a Sony (pretty but not functional), and a Thinkpad (impressively robust). Toshiba Tecra has been recommended.

If you've been reading Which? magazine (or more likely PCsomething or zednet) reviews please, for once, I encourage emails, to the usual address.

Thanks geeks!

Flying solo but flying high

John was a little disturbed when he dropped me off at the beach. "Do you know where you are? Do you know where the buses are? Do you know how to get anywhere?" I casually waved him off; hey if I can get around countries that I find myself in by accident then I can get around Perth's northern suburbs.

The beach was north of Mullaloo, so in the suburbs and not too crowded. I found a sandy spot amongst the rocks which I didn't have to share with anyone. This was good because I hadn't any bathers (sporty underwear and a confident attitude; that's my tip girls). I had a great time because I hadn't lounged on a beach since last year's Rally Sardinia. For those of you on the normal Gregorian calendar and not the World Rally one, that's October 2004.

I had a great time doing nothing, taking photos of sand, listening to the wind, splashing at the water's edge. It was so novel that I didn't mind that sand got everywhere that the flies didn't. I felt a bit soft and foreign; I was wearing too much clothing and didn't have a board of some sort but in my little space away from the crowds I reckoned from a distance I must have looked like Elle McPherson... right...

I chose to walk to Whitfords which I figured I had the right direction for - so long as I kept the coast on my right. Perth isn't great for footpaths, it's really a car owner's city so I had to cross the road a lot of times. I kept forgetting which way to look; it was all quite perilous.

I found myself singing Sophie B Hawkins in the middle of suburbia amongst the mock-Tudor, mock-Med and mock-everything styled housing until one very exhausted Chaplain rang, causing me to sing and dance to Sophie B in the cul de sacs. Neighbourhood Watch are on alert.

My walk took me past my school, along the path we'd jog on the way to swimming at the beach for PE. We hated it. It was hot and sandy and we stung from jellyfish and drank from people's garden taps. The school looked smaller especially with the encroaching shops (we used to be so tempted by Hungry Jack's proximity) The oval hill where Glenn O was left with his broken arm after a vicious game of British Bulldog seemed so small. And I could only just make out the native garden area where I was caught and detentioned for repeatedly using the F word. (I said I had bit my tongue and was cursing in pain, but really I was a truck driver gutter mouth). I could even remember Kingsley and Rupert's beautiful song Jealous Cry that was sung at our final assembly and the haunting words and drum beats accompanied me until the school disappeared from sight.

At Whitfords, I decided to hit the shops in anticipation of tomorrow's canoeing trip (yes Sami, finally I am baiting the sharks!) I am not a shopper especially for clothes. And I found shopping for swimwear something verging on the hilarious... For staters, bikini tops for women over the age of 12? I actually laughed out loud when I tried one on and saw how little support it provides. And who on earth wants to swim with padding; salty soggy bits of foam against my skin all day? No thanks. Once I had got over the hilarity of this, I tried on pants. You know girls, when you hit that age when you just can't look good in bikini bottoms so you opt for boy shorts? Yeah well that phase is short lived too. My cellulite has cellulite, you know what I mean. And those tight little boy shorts, they just fill the holes with lycra. It's scary. I bought mini board shirts which, while not completely hiding the offending areas, offered a fairly decent apology.

I also managed to get some super cool sunnies which I of course need for the blinding snow and hangovers of Finnish winter. A very effecient sales girl was determined I wasn't going to look like a dork and made sure I tried on every pair. I thought this was very kind, especially when I later realised that I still had half of the sandy beach plastered to me, including my forehead and lips. Not a good look...

So, twilight falls now in the Northern suburbs. I've kind of been asked on a date (by a very young man from the Motorsport dinner). Because he's very young, it's not a proper invitation, more a series of grunts and gestures. But I don't feel like going, and not just because he's an adolescent mix of grunting but well groomed hormones. My heart is elsewhere. It's singing John Denver, drowning in chocolate and forgiving aliens.

It's a beautiful day...

... and I'm inside swearing at the McKlein site and my remote email, invoicing, completing accreditation forms and searching for Iban numbers and frowning at my dwindling English account balance (how does it happen, I'm not even in the country!)

I'm in a great mood, I am in regular contact with the Finnish divas, whose comments and observations make me laugh and feel close to home. Last night I had a hot date. I didn't really, but in my imagination I did, and it was good. Reality is soooo over-rated.

I have friends in lerve, I am in lerve (or at least I have consumed enough chocolate for my endorphins to think this is the case).

On the downside, one of my friends is getting married and has made herself sick with worry and exhaustion, so I'm going to throw as much positive energy her way. I've at least talked her into accepting that going to the doctors is more important than bridesmaid's shoes. "Honey," I told her, "what man is going to be looking at our feet...? " I just hope that everyman at the wedding is hetero having said that, or anything less than a designer label is going to catch us out.

Now, I need to find something to do with this beautiful day.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Risk vs Reward

The last couple of days I wanted to play pretty carefully. But I didn't. I kind of ran, was pushed to play with innocent abandon, and did, and ended up with grazed knees and elbows and the like. First of all I would like someone to put some Dettol on those wounds (and a biscuit for the dinosaur) but there isn't anyone. So I am going to grow up and lick my own wounds.

Secondly, I decided that the risk wasn't worth the reward, that I didn't like coming home from the playground with bits of bitumen in my flesh. But it's not fun watching from the sidelines either.

So, I reassesed my last decision, and with a deep strong inhalation of breath, I'm going to play with my new best friend as long as I can. Because friends disappear all too soon, and every day should have some play.

I can hear the recess bell ringing with rewards.


Abduction by aliens can be an amazing experience. You are transported to another level, another world. You take on a whole new understanding of yourself and the world.

The aliens dissect and poke and prod you and analyse every part of you. Parts of you that you don't use, parts of your heart and mind that you take for granted. You let them because you are just as amazed with them as they are with you. Their dissection techniques are so gentle and seductive that you don't notice you have been pulled apart and examined until you are lying in your various segments, exposed to all the world - yours and theirs.

The aliens are very obliging; they return you to your world - it's not like you could ever exist in theirs. Their fascination in you is a curiosity which is time-limited.

They put you back together but you are never quite the same. You are raw, tender, grazed, disoriented. You know things about yourself you did not want to know. You walk with stiffness on the brink of an emotional void and an emotional overload. You are caught between their world, where you cannot exist, and your world, where you know too much to go back to your place.

The aliens pat themselves on the back for being so clever and affirming that they are superior to other life forms. They continue their alien business in their alien worlds.

Back on earth you blink at the stars in hope.

Thursday, November 17, 2005


Given that my parents are quite private people, and at times can be quite repressive with emotions, it's somewhat strange that I am a complete babbler. I think, though I haven't tried this theory, that I would tell a complete stranger anything they would want to know about me. I don't really hide my feelings. My heart isn't so much on my sleeve, it's splattered onto everyone elses too.

Jury's out on whether this is a good or bad thing.

Consequently while cruising the streets of Northbridge in someone's car, I babbled on. And on. Better out that in, I think the inner voice was saying. I am not quite sure, as the outer voice was going on for far too long and too loud for the inner voice to really have an impact.

I feel very good for all the babbling. Always think it's cathartic. I am sure I am breathing better now, like an asthmatic with a good dose of ventolin.

Only amongst all the babbling I almost said something very very strange. Even for me. Very odd. I don't know where it came from. I never even contemplated it. And now I am very freaked out about where it came from.

So over to you dear audience, is babbling like being drunk? Does the truth come out, or are you talking rubbish when you babble? And what does it mean if, out of the blue, you nearly blurt out the R word?

I have to say I nearly hyperventilated.

Which undid all the good work of the ventolin.

I've got instructions to get on the next plane home.
Or at least the next plane to Babylon.

Babble out.

Current Mood: Mixed

If mine was a blog that had one of those mood indicators on the side bar, then my side bar would be full of things with funny faces. Because I am in an odd mood.

Claustrophobic: I am feeling like the suburban houses are closing in on me. I'm feeling a real need for space. I'm being smothered in family love and yes yes I know I should rejoice, the concern is getting to me as I know need to watch what I say in case it all gets taken literally. I'm not used to people asking what's in my bags or what I am doing. I need some really vast horizon and natural light. I'm contemplating getting on a train to Coolgardie. Yes, that desperate.

Tense: I think this is related to the above. I need to shake it off quick. I need to be a supportive bridesmaid, something I am not too good at (always the bride, never the bridesmaid!) and I need to be able to hit the ground running in London. London, places to stay, people to meet, plans to make, things to do, to do lists, lots to do.... tense could be from the combined and conflicting needs to do a lot of stuff in my remaining time in Perth and the need to just chill...

Grieving: I need to get it out, all out. Like the three days spent wandering Espoo's islands after David's death I need more of the same to come to terms with everthing from 2005 - December will not be a month for contemplation. I need to let go of The Finn. I need to stop calling and knowing it's been set to silence, or hearing the change in tone when the call is rejected. I need to stop texting, thinking, hoping and dreaming. I need to stop letting ghosts haunt me and instead let memories make me smile.

Tired: There is something I have realised is missing from this year that I couldn't quite put my finger on. Last year, I did three times as many events; this year I am more tired. I was lucky last year to have two great people who understood not just the sport, but also the effort involved and so food appeared, clothes were washed, bags were dragged from the hallways and I was generally cared for. I realised this year, after only four events, I have dragged myself through the aftermath alone (Turkey, hospitalisation, returning to Finland alone; Japan, straight to Aus; Aus, wondering lost; Finland, getting dumped). No wonder I am tired. Perhaps I should get a PA?!

Of course amongst all this is the overwhelming good moods:
Elevator dancing - still at high although limited due to lack of elevators and energy.
Nervous tension - synonymous with making new (male) friends and that butterfly in the stomach feeling (my butterflies have elephant feet).
Diva power - all time high now that Kati and Nina and I have managed to share at least half an hour awake in the right time zones. I can't wait to get back. I soooo need to wiggle. Maybe I'll do it the whole way through Finnish customs!


I have a friend who speaks chocolate. Not literally, but metaphorically. Their words are like chocolate; rich and intense and I am always poised to watch the words come out of their mouth.

Sometimes their words are so exquisite I realise I am catching them as they speak, devouring them before I have a chance to hear them fully. Other times I am happy to catch the words, warm from production, and hold them in my hands until they melt against my fingers. There are also times when the chocolate falls so often that I cannot even try to catch, try to eat and I find myself at the end of the conversation sitting in a melted pool of the stuff. I am delirious with their words; bitter, sweet, rich - all. Lying in the conversation aftermath, I am contented, swim in the pool of richness.

I only hope I don't drown. But I do like chocolate.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

I miss kids

The other day on the phone, I heard The Chaplain talking to one of his children, and something inside me snapped. Well, more of a guitar string-like pluck than a harsh bone snapping, but a distinct and audible sound none the less.

I miss kids.

I miss Jacinta's morning cuddles (though I was slightly concerned by the caption that went with this photo originally that said I need my afternoon gin as much as morning cuddles. It was a somewhat harder time... )

I am starting to think I might be mentally ready to have a child but as I missing a few vital ingredients, the old woman who lived in a shoe in Eastern Europe with many orphans and cats might have to suffice. At least one will be called Antonov...

On November 1st, I lived the day in silence, carrying with me that strange dull weight you carry when no one knows you are carrying it. There is a little girl out there I shall never see, she shall never know me, but I love her. It's a situationI can't even to begin to explain through this medium. I wrote so much that day, choked with emotion for every slow movement of the clock. It was her birthday. The only present I could think to give her, that I could ever give her, was her father. Happy birthday princess.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

You make me feel like dancing...

There aren't any elevators in my mum's house (I'm now out of the hotel) so I've just taken to dancing everywhere else.

I spent hours on the phone to The Chaplain today. I'm not sure if that's a good or bad thing. I'm really conscious that when I talk to him I am really drawn by the intensity with which he says things. I'm nervous that I might start to like him, or maybe I'm nervous that I might and I'm conscious that spending a year being in love with someone I couldn't have in the past, I don't want to repeat that again. Really it's all a bit much for knowing someone a few days (or at least knowing them for years but only connecting for a few days). So I am hoping it's just a big red warning light in my head coupled with the emotional high of finishing a huge event (and year of the same). Anyway, I am enjoying the high and the dancing...

Speaking of emotion, today was full of it. I spent the afternoon with my dad and covered a lot of ground. Words can't describe what this did to me. The Chaplain says this is because he prayed for me, something I jumped on and opposed with a lot of vigour. Divine intervention aside, it really was something.

I have to go, my feet are tapping, my hips are swaying, and I feel a wiggle coming on.

I'm gonna dance the night away....

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Sheraton, Perth, Western Australia

Some people think I have been kidnapped by aliens, some people think I am ignoring them. So I've taken 20 minutes while the tiger balm works my magic on my knees to give you a life in the day:

  • My event - final round of an international sporting event.
  • My "children" - 351 international media and 14 volunteers.
  • My home - partitioned office with no natural light and temperemental airconditioning at the Sheraton Hotel.
  • My hours - minimum 0630 to 2400
  • My pains - press releases at Eastern states deadlines, late running stages and writing press releases before stewards meetings, interview areas with no personnel to staff them, managing people who work for free, regulations made by governing bodies that don't have a clue, liaising with other officials with ego problems, getting phone calls that don't take into account time differences, accidents and incidents on every single stage, trying to speak French and read Spanish, not enough coffee close to me...and so on...
  • My gains - getting people who work for free to enjoy themselves, sometimes, briefly making the media happy, er - that's it.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Diva did it!!!

There's been three horse moments that have made me teary eyed:

Damien Oliver winning on Media Puzzle, 2002, only weeks after his brother's death

Listening to a radio report on how everyone felt as Mummify was put down


watching the frenzy and Glen Boss's emotion as Makybe Diva bringing home their third win.

Go go diva power!

I guess I am still Australian at heart!

ABC news